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Hypocrisy of Japanese govt’s pretense of a no nuclear policy

The entire [zero nuclear]policy had been watered down to nothing due to opposition from both the US and the Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren). 

If we don’t, someone else will (and other dubious rationalizations)Kanagawa Notebook, September 23, 2012  ZERO NUCLEAR POWER BY 2030′s: OFFICIAL GOAL!!  ….    protestors in Tokyo are calling for an end to reliance on nuclear power NOW, which could be achieved simply by shutting down the two reactors at the Oi Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture.

Zero nuclear power by the 2030′s??  That would give the government plenty of opportunity to keep the Ooi reactors running and re-start others in the meantime.  So I read the article calmly and objectively, and was not surprised to discover the clause at the end added by the Prime Minister: “It is extremely hard to predict how things may develop in the future and we should make sure that we are able to take a flexible approach.”  Flexible, meaning “Well, we’ll TRY to keep this promise. But it may not work out, so please understand, okay?”

And to add insult to injury, the article made it very clear that the government intended to continue the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, and did not plan to give up on the Monju fast-breeder (a prototype reactor that theoretically will run on reprocessed uranium and plutonium. The reactor has been plagued by accidents and cover-ups, and currently sits idle; it has actually only produced a single hour’s worth of electricity since its completion, which involved four decades of work and an appalling amount of money),  scheduled to come on-line in 2050.

Hmmm… nuke plants at that time, but the country would still be producing a stockpile of uranium. And for what purpose??  The potential for nuclear armament could not be separated from the equation. On September 15th, the Asahi Shinbun published an article on the Zero Nukes announcement, asking the question, HOW FIRM IS THE NO-NUKE POLICY? IT CONTAINS GET-OUTS, CONTRADICTIONS.  Asahi made no bones about calling Noda’s announcement a “hollow promise” as well as a shameless plug to win the support of ordinary voters (good luck with that).  From this article, I learned that a Legal Requirement Clause, added to the policy by minister Motohisa Furukawa, had been struck out at the last minute, meaning that in fact local and central governments were not bound by law to effect the policy at all. The whole declaration was, in fact, a non-binding promise thrown out in a desperate attempt by the government to save face (again, good luck with that).

Let me now skip ahead: Just five days after the original announcement, the Asahi Shinbun ran another article with this headline: JAPAN’S NO-NUKE PLEDGE IS ALREADY FRAYING AT THE EDGES,  followed by the next day’s Japan Times annnouncement CABINET FAILS TO OK NEW NUCLEAR STRATEGY, describing the “shocking reversal” that took place in a matter of six days.  The entire policy had been watered down to nothing due to opposition from both the US and the Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren).
This was only “shocking” for those who believed that the government was seriously committed to its own policy, however, and since many folks wanted a break with nuclear power immediately (rather than 18 years down the road), they had not been terribly excited about the announcement in the first place.  Still, even for cynics, it was a disheartening and disappointing week.  What an embarrassing excuse for a government…. ….

September 24, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties

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